First Lieutenant and General Superintendent F. R. Chase’s Letter to Captain William H. Sterling: An Insight into the Operations of the Freedmen’s Bureau’s Educational Department

Authored by Victoria Santamorena

1st Lieutenant & General Superintendent F. R. Chase to Captain William H. Sterling, 22 February 1867. Freedmen’s Bureau: Registers and Letters Received by the Commissioner, Letters Received, Entered in Register 9, W, Jan.- May 1867, Part 1. Smithsonian Institution Transcription Center, Freedmen’s Bureau, Washington, D.C.

On February 22, 1867, First Lieutenant and General Superintendent of Education in New Orleans, F. R. Chase, wrote to Captain William H. Sterling, the acting Adjunct General, reporting on difficulties in the Educational Department, which was overseen by the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands (the Freedmen’s Bureau). Chase’s letter complains of one of the department’s agents, A. D. McCoy, who had a tendency to overstep the bounds of his position. McCoy claimed authority over the district’s schools and the teachers appointed to them. However, the Superintendent or the Assistant Commissioner were responsible for these duties (Trudeau 1978, 2-3). Complicating matters, McCoy was a former Confederate and seemed to value religious preaching above his obligations as an educator.

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Everyone Deserves a Seat at the Table: How Nintendo Addressed the Issue of Overlooked Gamers

Authored by Gabriel Fequiere Jr.

NES Hands Free Controller Overhead View. This view highlights the chin lever and sip and puff tube used to work the controller.

Video games are a massive social and economic force the world around, with an estimated 2.6 billion people worldwide playing (Cairns, Power, Barlet, and Haynes, 2019a). Games provide not only an escape but also a feeling of belonging to a community. This was especially true during the pandemic. The socialization provided by games allows players to decrease feelings of loneliness and anxiety and feel like part of a larger community at a time when staying socially distant was imperative. The gaming community is a rich world with shared experiences, pop culture, friendships, and events including conventions, meet-ups, and even Twitch streams, where people with similar interests can unite.

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Cass Hite: Murder or the Right to Self-Defense

Written around 1893, this document shows a plea for pardoning on behalf of Cass Hite along with signatures of various Utah territory citizens who supported it. More than one letter of this kind was written to then-Governor of the Utah Territory, Caleb W. West, in an attempt for a pardon to be made for Hite’s situation.

Authored by McKenzie Wood

On September 9, 1891, Cass Hite killed Adolf F. Kohler in the Green River Valley of the Utah Territory in self-defense. Despite this, he was sentenced to 12 years in prison. What followed were petitions, letters, and people asking one question: why?

The answer was complicated. Prosecutors in court claimed Hite killed Kohler out of anger after being called a coward (The People of the Territory of Utah vs. Cass Hite, n.d.). For Hite’s defense, Kohler shot first after Hite went to him to settle their differences without violence (Salt Lake Tribune 1892, 3). The court split when the first trial proceeded in February 1892. With no solid proof of either sides’ story besides bullet holes and a dead man, a he-said she-said predicament ensued. Witnesses contradicted each other on key points depending on which side they supported. “Ultimately,” says Knipmeyer, author of Hite’s biography, “[it] came down to which witnesses each member of the…jury believed” (Knipmeyer 2016, 147-148).

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Ike and Butch: A Cartoonist Preserves Memories

Authored by Catherine Torres

“The 847th had a reputation as a very musical unit, producing male-voice choirs and jazz bands. The famous newspaper cartoonist Giles often jammed with men from the Debach-based unit in local pubs. These are his drawings of two of the men who became his friends: Ike (the double bass player) and Butch. Their full names are not known.” Photo courtesy of Emily Charles, Curator of the American Air Museum in the Imperial War Museum, Cambridgeshire, England.

During World War II, US and British bombers participating in the Allied Aerial campaign operated out of airfields in Southeast England. Building the airfields was difficult; there were long hours and equipment shortages (Hartzer 2013). Like many servicemen and women, aviation engineers, those who built the airfields, did their part for the war effort, but unlike their peers, aviation engineers are not often memorialized. The reason? At the time, of the 157 American aviation engineer units, 48 of them were designated as “colored” (Hartzer 2013). 

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A Place to Rest: Honoring Harry Rowland McGowan

Authored by Sophia Fuhrmann

The grave marker created in honor of Harry Roland McGowan was unveiled on November 13, 2021. The rendered plaque includes a brief yet unique history of actor Harry Roland McGowan, who’s grave had previously remained unmarked for a little under a hundred years.

The Friends of Maple Grove is a non-profit organization that was established in 2005. The organization “is on the forefront of utilizing the historical resources of [Maple Grove] cemetery and bringing its history to life” (Friends of Maple Grove, n.d.). FMG strives to ensure the dignity of those buried within the cemetery by providing burial locations to those with unknown or unmarked burial locations.

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Executive Order 11828 and Government Accountability

Authored by Jennifer Gheller

Exec. Order No. 11,828 detailing the creation and responsibilities of the Commission on CIA Activities Within the United States.

On December 22, 1974, The New York Times published an exposé on the Central Intelligence Agency. This front-page story reported that the CIA, which was not permitted to report on American citizens, had gathered files on over 10,000 Americans, including political dissidents (Hersh 1974, 1). This was a significant breach of the privacy of American citizens. On January 4, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford established the Commission on CIA Activities Within the United States in response to these allegations. This Commission, also known as the Rockefeller Commission, was “to determine whether or not any domestic CIA activities exceeded the Agency’s statutory authority and to make appropriate recommendations” (Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum n.d., under “Introduction”).

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Who Lost the War of 1812? Indigenous Peoples

Authored by Allison Lang

Peter Stuart Hay, Secretary of the General Society of the War of 1812, declares his right to membership by providing evidence that his father, Peter Hay, fought in the war. This is the first page of the very first application to the General Society, dated July 4, 1876.

The General Society of the War of 1812 is a gentlemen’s organization exclusive to those who can trace their ancestry back to veterans of the conflict. Their website, steeped in patriotism, proudly displays a photograph from their 2019 meeting in Washington D.C., complete with 56 smiling, white faces. The General Society’s stated purpose is to “perpetuate [the War’s] memories and victories” (General Society of the War of 1812, n.d.). What is glaringly absent from the memories they preserve are the indigenous perspectives of this time period that make the story much richer and more complex.

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Providence Hall Charter School

Authored by Karen England

Providence Hall High School, located in Herriman, UT, is a public charter school located in Salt Lake County, Utah. Photograph taken by England, Karen. 2021. Providence Hall High School. Photograph.

Since their conception in 1988, charter schools are public schools that commit to obtaining specific educational objectives in return for a charter or contract to operate a school. The contract excuses the school from many state and local regulations related to operation and management, but otherwise, they adhere to the regulations of all public schools in that it must be free to attend, and enrollment is open to everyone. Charter schools are publicly accountable. They must have a written performance contract with the authorized public agency and meet agreed-upon educational requirements outlined by the school’s charter (Meador 2018). This is the school’s attempt to meet a need that the traditional public school system is not fulfilling.

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Poison Water: How Zinc and Lead Closed a Town+

Authored by Cailin Cortner

An article from The Daily Oklahoman about Picher, OK, and the debate on the town’s relocation from 2000. The article was found in the Tar Creek Superfund Repository in the Miami Public Library Basement.

Picher, Oklahoma, was once one of the world’s most prominent lead and zinc mining sites until the last of the mines shut down in 1970 (“The Creek Runs Red” 2007). However, after years of mining, waste accumulated and began to pollute the nearby land and rivers. Picher used to be a large town full of life, home to multiple movie theatres, bars, and businesses. Now, the town stands abandoned with chat piles reaching to the sky, a shell of the life that used to live there. 

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